The field of Typography employs a number of technical terms to describe letterforms. If you take the time to learn these, you will find it much easier to identify specific faces, and will quite possibly amaze all your friends with your knowledge of type.*
Throughout this post, the examples sit on a collection of lines.
Any line that defines the letterform.
The point created at the junction of two diagonal stems.
Short strokes off the stem of the letterform, either horizontal (E, F, T) or inclined (K, Y)
The portion of the stem of a lower case character that rises above the median.
The half-serif finish on some curved letterforms.
The half-serif finish on some horizontal arms.
The rounded form that describes a counter. The bowl may be either open or closed.
The transition between the serif and the stem.
The negative space within a letterform, either fully or partially enclosed.
The horizontal stroke that joins two stems together.
The horizontal stroke in a letterform that intersects the stem.
The interior space where two strokes meet.
The portion of the stem of a lowercase letterform that projects below the baseline.
The stroke that extends out from the main stem or body of the letterform.
The rounded non-serif terminal to a stroke.
Short stroke off the stem of the letterform, either at the bottom of the stroke (L) or inclined downward (K, R)
The character formed by the combination of two or more letterforms. Opentype fonts allow flexible access to ligatures.
The stroke that connects the bowl and the loop of a lowercase G.
In some typefaces, the bowl created in the descender of the lowercase G.
The curved stroke that is not part of a bowl.
The curved stem of the S.
The extension that articulates the junction of a curved and vertical stroke.
The significant vertical or oblique stroke.
The curved or diagonal stroke at the finish of certain letterforms.
This post was created with heavy reference to A Type Primer by John Kane (Laurence King Publishing / ISBN 1-85669-291-4). If you’re interested in typography and grids, I can’t recommend it enough.